Everest Base Camp The Lazy Way – Day 3
First Sight of Everest
It is not, exactly, that our legs hurt, but even the sight of “more sodding steps” prompts an inner revulsion, as we set off up the hill (but of course!) for our first sight of Everest, from the highest point of Namche Bazar.
Gentle reader. Standing in a high meadow surrounded by tall peaks – Everest, Lhotse, the witch’s finger of Ama Dablam, another new favourite mountain – is, well, pretty darn amazing.
Frankly, it’s worth ANY amount of steps.
Because we are looking at Mount Everest! The highest mountain in the world! A peak that folk thought unclimbable until Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay managed it in 1953.
Sagamartha. Chomalungma. Or Eve-rest (as in Adam) — how it was originally pronounced.
Call it what you will. Our jaws are on the floor. Zac pulls out his camera and makes a panorama.
And Nir takes a rare shot of the two of us together.
Everest is, as Zac remarks, by far the ugliest of the mountains. It’s a big, slabby, broad, dark pyramid, that feels overweight beside the delicacy of the surrounding peaks (“himal” in Nepali).
We can only see the very top of it. Because of the angle, the blessing that means that for every fifteen minutes walking in a Himalayan valley you get a brand new view, it actually looks smaller than its surrounding peaks.
And, at least from this angle, it really does lack the power, the drama, the presence of Lhotse.
But… Here’s the thing. The Everest Base Camp trek, the Gokyo Valley and, insha’allah, the Cho-La pass – none of these things are primarily about looking at Everest.
Not for the aesthetics, anyway.
It’s about setting foot on the highest mountain on this earth, making your way to the starting point of a pilgrimage to the roof of the world. With Everest Base Camp, the truism is truer than ever. It’s really not the destination. It’s the journey.
And right now, we’ve seen where we’re headed to.
And that, as we stand in a highland meadow by one of those drystone helipads that fleck lower-altitude villages in Nepal, watching a rescue helicopter racing up the valley, is just bloody great.
Even if, in all honesty, I still have a weakness for the slabby precipitous grandeur, the cascading cliffs of Kong De, a peak that feels so close we could touch it.
If you’re thinking of doing the Everest Base Camp trek, I recommend my Everest Base Camp FAQs.